Fluoride and Osteoporosis
Some claim that osteoporosis is due to high fluoride levels in drinking water.
Yes, like calcium, fluoride increases osteoblast cell proliferation. (1)
Fluoride also causes an increase in bone mineral density (BMD). (2)
So, basically, fluoride also has an accelerating effect on the aging process of osteoblasts. But how strong is this effect?
Cortisol, calcitriol and PTH also have such an accelerating effect. So, how strong is the influence of fluoride in our drinking water on the aging of our bones?
In one study, for example, no correlation was found between fluoride exposure and BMD. (3)
Let us check some scientific studies:
"There was a small statistically significant positive association between fracture rates and fluoridation. The relative risk (95% confidence interval) of fracture in fluoridated counties compared to nonfluoridated counties was 1.08 (1.06 to 1.10) for women and 1.17 (1.13 to 1.22) for men." (4)
"No association was observed between hip fractures and estimated fluoride concentration in either men or women when all age groups were analyzed together. However, the adjusted rate ratio was 2.09 (95% confidence interval: 1.16, 3.76) for younger women who were the most exposed (>1.5 mg/liter) when compared with those who were the least exposed (< or =0.1 mg/liter)". (5)
"The odds (of hip fracture) ratio associated with an average lifetime exposure to fluoride > or =0.9 ppm was 1.0 [95% CI 0.7-1.5]". (6)
"The combined results of these studies indicate that any increase or decrease in fracture rate is likely to be small". (7)
"In conclusion, the epidemiological evidence relating water fluoridation to hip fracture is based upon ecological comparisons and is inconclusive. However, several studies suggest the possibility of a weak adverse effect" (8)
"There was some suggestion that women exposed to fluoride for > 20 years had a lower relative risk of nonspine fractures (relative risk, RR, = 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.48-1.12), osteoporotic fractures, RR = 0.74 (CI 0.46-1.19), and hip fractures, RR = 0.44 (CI 0.10-1.86), compared with women not exposed, but none of these relative risks was statistically significant." (9)
"No differences in fracture rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas were observed for fractures of the hip among either men or women..." ("a 5% sample of the white U.S. Medicare population, aged 65 to 89 years during the period 1986-1990")(10)
"The prevalence of bone fracture, including hip fracture, in six Chinese populations with water fluoride concentrations ranging from 0.25 to 7.97 parts per million (ppm) was determined. The prevalence of overall bone fracture was lowest in the population of 1.00-1.06 ppm fluoride in drinking water, which was significantly lower (p < 0.05) than that of the groups exposed to water fluoride levels > or =4.32 and < or =0.34 ppm". (11)
Also, very importantly, Japan only started to fluoride its water in 2000, but the hip fracture incidence in Japan was very much higher than that in other Asian countries, way before 2000. (Due to the higher milk consumption in Japan).
So, yes, extra fluoride accelerates the aging of osteoblasts, but the effect of fluoridated drinking water is low, certainly when compared to the influence of dietary / supplementary calcium.
© 2000 Copyright Artists Cooperative Groove Union U.A.
Abstracts of most sources can be found at The National Library of Medicine
(1) Chen, L. et al, Effects of fluoride on the expression of c-fos and c-jun genes and cell proliferation of rat osteoblasts. Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi 2000 Nov;34(6):327-329. , Xu S, et al, Direct effects of fluoride on activities of bone morphogenetic protein. Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi 2000 Jul;34(4):215-7. , Rodriguez JP, et al, Sodium fluoride induces changes on proteoglycans synthesized by avian osteoblasts in culture. J Cell Biochem 2001;83(4):607-16. , Meunier PJ. , Anabolic agents for treating postmenopausal osteoporosis. Joint Bone Spine 2001 Dec;68(6):576-81. (and many more studies)
(2) Meunier PJ. , Anabolic agents for treating postmenopausal osteoporosis. Joint Bone Spine 2001 Dec;68(6):576-81.
(3) Lehmann R, et al, Drinking water fluoridation: bone mineral density and hip fracture incidence. Bone 1998 Mar;22(3):273-8.
(4) Jacobsen SJ, et al, The association between water fluoridation and hip fracture among white women and men aged 65 years and older. A national ecologic study. Ann Epidemiol 1992 Sep;2(5):617-26.
(5) Kurttio P, et al, Exposure to natural fluoride in well water and hip fracture: a cohort analysis in Finland. Am J Epidemiol 1999 Oct 15;150(8):817-24.
(6) Hillier S, Cooper C, Fluoride in drinking water and risk of hip fracture in the UK: a case-control study. Lancet 2000 Jan 22;355(9200):265-9.
(7) Allolio B, et al, Drinking water fluoridation and bone. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1999;107(1):12-20.
(8) Hillier S, et al, Water fluoridation and osteoporotic fracture. Community Dent Health 1996 Sep;13 Suppl 2:63-8.
(9) Cauley JA, et al, Effects of fluoridated drinking water on bone mass and fractures: the study of osteoporotic fractures. J Bone Miner Res 1995 Jul;10(7):1076-86.
(10) Karagas MR, et al, Patterns of fracture among the United States elderly: geographic and fluoride effects. Ann Epidemiol 1996 May;6(3):209-16.
Li Y, et al, Effect of long-term exposure to fluoride in drinking water on risks
of bone fractures. J Bone Miner Res 2001 May;16(5):932-9.